Ronna McDaniel cruised to reelection Friday for a fourth term as Republican National Committee chair, turning aside two pro-Trump challengers to lock up the powerful post.
The GOP leader beat Harmeet Dhillon, who said she would be a more aggressive conservative voice, and MAGA stalwart MyPillow.com CEO Mike Lindell to keep the job she has held since 2017.
McDaniel embraced her rivals and thanked them for “being the leaders you are for our party.”
“With us united, the Democrats are going to hear us in 2024 when we take back the White House and the Senate,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel won 111 votes compared to 51 for Dhillon and 4 for Lindell, with one vote for ex-Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) in a secret ballot at a Republican retreat in Dana Point, Calif.
“The RNC will be better for the tough conversations that were desperately needed,” Dhillon said in a statement after her loss.
McDaniel, a niece of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) enjoyed the backing of Trump and also had strong support from the establishment wing of the GOP.
But restive factions inside Trump’s own MAGA movement lined up behind Dhillon, who sought to harness far right-wing frustration with lackluster election showings on McDaniel’s watch.
The bitter divisions over Trump and other issues threatened to derail McDaniel’s bid to become the longest-serving RNC chair since the Civil War.
With another term in the bag, McDaniel can work to unite the factions ahead of the 2024 presidential race, which will likely pit Trump against other well-known figures in the GOP.
Ahead of Friday’s vote, Dhillon trumpeted the MAGA base’s hunger for change and threatened retribution for the RNC members who back McDaniel.
“Ignoring the will of the voters … is a good way not to elected again,” Dhillon said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, considered a top 2024 presidential prospect, also spoke out against McDaniel on the eve of the vote.
“I think we need a change. I think we need to get some new blood in the RNC,” DeSantis said in an interview with Florida’s Voice.
The RNC controls much of the presidential nominating process — including the debates and voting calendar — while directing GOP fundraising efforts and the sprawling nationwide infrastructure designed first and foremost to elect a Republican president.
Zeldin, who mounted a stronger than expected challenge to Gov. Hochul, considered a run for RNC chair but ended up passing on the race.
Lindell, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist, already endorsed Trump’s 2024 campaign and said he will never stray from the MAGA gospel.
“I’ve never not endorsed Donald Trump,” Lindell said. “I’m never moving off that space.”
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